In today’s technologically driven world, independent musicians have an infinite number of outlets to display and promote their music. Now that websites like MySpace, Purevolume, and Virb (just to name a few) exist, independent artists have been given the opportunity to “level the playing field” with those prestigious radio guys. The problem, however, lies in the fact that the endless amount of DIY work far outweighs any successful return. So, how can independent musicians gain recognition and popularity without having to deal with the over-saturated world of online promotion? The answer lies in one word: “licensing.”
Within the last few years, independent artists have been glorified on film, television, and commercials more than ever before. Teenage-based TV shows such as
So, how does this process work? How can independent films play a bigger role in the support of independent music? Well, the potential lies in the budget of the film. Independent films are generally projects with smaller budgets than the expensive blockbuster pictures. This fact alone gives the independent film the advantage to be the project that partners with some deserving undiscovered musicians. After hiring a music supervisor, the individual in charge of finding, choosing, and negotiating license deals for all of the necessary tunes, the production company will only allocate a certain amount of money for the movie’s melodic audio features. With this being said, it is now the supervisor’s job to hunt down eligible artists (Artists that have deals with publishing companies) for the lowest cost possible. Similar to any business, the more popular and in-demand a song is, the more expensive it will be. So, instead of choosing Beastie Boys’ “Girls,” the supervisor may be forced to license Johnny Nobody’s “Women.”
Obviously, the process involves a great deal of contracts and numbers, but in the end the supervisor obtains the rights to use these unfamiliar and inexpensive songs in the movie. Although it may be said that the process is a “Catch 22” (A band can’t be licensed until they have a licensing deal with a company), licensing material to these outlets have proven to be one of the easiest and most rewarding elements of income for musicians. Not only is the band given a chance to share their music with the world, they are also getting paid for it. In this way, licensing have opened new doors for every aspiring independent musician and has ultimately given them the chance to DIY for the rest of their successful careers. Independent films will forever have the opportunity to continue shifting the music industry away from the larger record companies.